College students advised to use LinkedIn to help find employment

By Shawn Potter

Opinion Editor

 

Career Services hands out helpful job pamphlets. Photo by Shawn Potter.
Career Services hands out helpful job pamphlets. Photo by Shawn Potter.

As college students, we are all either looking for our dream job or are working towards getting one. Luckily, there are professionals at BSU ready to help. On Wed. Feb. 25, Blair Sylvia from the Career Services Center spoke in the ECC conference room about smart ways to go about job searching on LinkedIn.

Sylvia explained that the job search for students starts now. According to recent studies, it can take six months or more to find a job. This figure is supported by the factors that more people apply for jobs online, therefore there is increased competition in the social media world.

Applying for a job online is not enough, though. There are several elements that contribute to your professional appearance on LinkedIn.

First, LinkedIn has the ability to give you a gauge for profile completion. It is important to be aware of the information you have posted on your LinkedIn profile and it is recommended to update your profile at least every six months.

Not only is it important to build a reputation through your own profile, but it is equally important to comment on other profiles and discussions.

There is a technique to contributing to other’s discussions and starting your own. Be sure to note that if you do comment or follow a discussion that your feedback is valuable. Try thinking to yourself before you comment, “Will my input add any substantial value to the conversation?”

If you are fairly new to LinkedIn, one important thing to keep in mind while updating your profile is that consistency is key. Like Facebook, for example, one important feature is the ability to have a profile picture.

Be sure to have a photo that is professional looking, either a photo from a photographer or a professional-looking one from any picture you may have. Career Service offers free headshots for anyone who wants to get a quick, professional looking photo for their profile picture.

With the body of your profile, one of the most important features will be your headline and your summary. They will be the things that fellow professionals and employers will be looking at while viewing your profile. A good idea while thinking of a summary is to include where you hope to go in your career.

If you feel as though you are ready to seriously begin a job search, one of the smartest ideas is to ask your fellow contacts for recommendations. If you come across an individual you would like to connect with for professional reasons, be sure to include a detailed message as to why you want to connect with that person.

Sylvia said, “70% of your jobs are going to be based off of the relationships you build on LinkedIn.”

This is important to note because many people may make the mistake of thinking that the only thing they need to land a big job is having a glowing profile.

A common question and misconception about LinkedIn is that you need to upgrade to the premium version to get the best out of it.

On the contrary, Sylvia explained that she had her LinkedIn profile for years and she has not upgraded to premium yet. The premium version allows you to connect to the most influential leaders and see their whole profile, along with other smaller features.

There are certainly people in the world who swear by having a premium LinkedIn profile. However, college students who may find it expensive don’t need to worry. Having a free profile is just as effective, and you can do nearly all of the things with a free profile as you can with a premium version.

If you find yourself with anymore questions about LinkedIn, contact the Career Services Center on campus at 508-531-1328. Drop in hours include Tues. from 5-7 p.m. If you have a LinkedIn profile, connect with Blair Sylvia and find out how you can improve your job search.

 

Shawn Potter is the Opinion Editor of The Comment. Follow him on Twitter @shawn_potter.

 

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